Looking for a Pigeon in Normandy W.P.G. 333 - LURP 40

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by dctrn, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. dctrn

    dctrn Member


    I am looking for information about this birdy.

    I know that it flew from Normandy in the Autumn of 1943, but to where and whom I have no idea.Can somebody help?

    The next question is when the bird arrived, if it ever did, how would the information have been passed up the line and to who?

    TVM .....
  2. Alanst500

    Alanst500 Senior Member

    Hi, Found this

    Pigeon NURP 40 TW 194 [edit]
    In 2012, the skeleton of a carrier pigeon was found inside a home chimney in Bletchingley, Surrey, in the southeast United Kingdom. Inside a red canister attached to one of its legs was and an encrypted message handwritten on a Pigeon Service form. The message was addressed to "XO2," which is thought to be RAF Bomber Command, and is signed "W Stot Sjt." It is believed to have been sent from France on June 6, 1944 during the World War II D-day invasion. The message consists of 27 five-letter groups, with the first and last group identical. As of December, 2012, the message had not been deciphered. Britain's GCHQ, the successor to Bletchley Park has asked for any information the public might have about the message.[4]
    The cipher text reads:







    KLDTS FQIRW AOAKN 27 1525/6
    The form indicates that two copies of the message were sent. Additional notations, in a color different from the code groups and signature, are "NURP 40 TW 194" and "NURP 37 OK 76."[5] These identify the specific birds used.[6] NURP stands for "National Union of Racing Pigeons."[7] The pigeon whose remains were found is apparently 40 TW 194.[8] Wide press coverage was given to a solution proposed Gord Young of Canada based on a World War I coding book. It explains 7 of the 26 unique code groups as ad hoc acronyms, such as "FNFJW - Final Note [ confirming ] Found Jerry's Whereabouts." [9] The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has stated "without access to the original code books, details of any additional encryption, or any context around the message, it will be impossible to decode. Similarly it means that any proposed solutions sent to GCHQ will, without such material, be impossible to prove correct." [10]

    This was copied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Pigeon_Service

  3. dawallace

    dawallace Junior Member

    Deciphered here:
    I am just reading "Double Cross" by Ben MacIntyre and it has tales of MI5's extensive secret pidgeon work, capturing German pidgeons and turning them into double agents, breeding their own pidgeons to look like German ones and counterfitting the ID tags, and also letting the Germans know some of their pidgeons were double agents to have them suspect all of their pidgeons. Who would have known?
    Dave Wallace
  4. dctrn

    dctrn Member

    Who would of thought that......

    Looks like I may have to wander off to Kew....and never be seen again...!
    I think its an SOE bird , but that is a shot in the dark.

  5. dawallace

    dawallace Junior Member

    MI5 hired a guy who knew everything and loved everything about pidgeons, who with Mi5's help set it all up. He was apparently quite appauled at the prospect of "executing" enemy pidgeons, which was necessary from time to time.
    "Double Cross" is a wonderful book on the D-Day deceptions. The cast of real characters is unbelieveable and involved aristocrats, spymasters, transvestites and circus performers. It also details how the invasion was nearly put off the rails by a double agent when MI5 failed to deliver her pet dog to Britain as they had promised. If it had come out as fiction, everyone would be complaining the plot was too far fetched.
    Highly recommended
  6. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Do you have any other details? For instance the colour of the message capsule? There are a few possibilities as to the bird's origin but most of the ones being dropped along the Northern French coast were MI5 birds carrying questionnaires. Agents used them as well for communication, as did downed Coastal Command aircrew.

    A few articles here from the Archives I put together at the height of the pigeon in the chimney saga:

    The deciphered message that chap came up with was a load of old cock in my oh so humble opigeon. ;)

    For what it's worth my own theory was that the message was enciphered using Typex as it has a five letter indicator at the start and end of the message. One time pads and worked out keys used 4 numeric indicators and other lower levels ciphers two or three letter indicators.

    As Typex was a high level cipher and not used on the front lines, and also considering the age of the birds, one born in 1937 and the other in 1940, I reckon the pigeon was sent within the UK probably in 1941 or 1942 and probably as part of a training exercise. According to one MI5 document, the optimum age of a carrier pigeon was two to five-years-old, although there's plenty of evidence that older and younger birds were used, that rather neatly suggests a date of 1942 as the most likely.

    As the message was sent twice using two different birds, the best chance of reading it is to find the already deciphered copy from the other bird. Presuming that it made it home and a copy of the message survives buried away in the Archives somewhere or other. Mind that might be as almost as difficult to find as it would to crack a Typex cipher.

    brithm likes this.
  7. dctrn

    dctrn Member


    Thanks chaps. This is all most interesting.

    I understand that the bird was from a resistance worker who had eight birds and I think he worked for the FFI; but I am not sure of that. That is all I know really.
  8. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

    A bit late but hey...
    Pigeon 333 sent to the area southwest of Rouen on 5 July 1942 returned to Weston-Super-Mare four days later. :

    Troops in Calvados.

    At HARCOURT: Elements of the pioneers of the 19th Regiment, certain elements of [missing] and artillery, - making in all some 300 men.

    Clecy and Conde St Noiseau: a few detachments seemingly of sappers (pourtormiers and [missing]) Several manoeuvres have taken place on the Oine (?) at the bridge of La Lande.

    AVIATION: Several planes have been for four days past at St Houvierre du Taix (?) and at Haltot. (Missing) (?) Callvue)

    At Bretteville sur Laine at a place known as Callouet (?) Callvue) are 5 planes of the Messerschmitt 109 type. They arrived a week ago.

    TROOP MOVEMENT: None at present.


    Percy en Ange: at the old French munitions depot the Germans are taking out everything made of iron, as well as projectiles; the whole departs in a complete train.

    Hoult Argence: (Missing) depot is just completed here on the spot of the old English aerodrome. Several trains have been unloaded. It is impossible to know what sort of munitions as the Boches have evacuated the country round during the operations.

    Putigny: A very important mineral centre working intensively all sorts of minerals which according to our information are sent to Germany.

    Colombelle: Metal works which will be completed very soon.

    St Remy: Panzements (?) works working exclusively for the Fritze. The works were bombed last week but not much damage was done. Also Iron Works; the mineral is sent to the industrial centres which are working for the Germans.

    It is impossible for us to give you the names of our locality because our village is very small, but you may know that we are in the canton of Harcourt (Calvados).

    In a little village 2km from here a pigeon was found and the man took it to the Mayor who had to inform the Kommandantur.

    We found 2 pigeons: NORF 40 WS 353 – NORF 40 RPC 150, and we will be glad to hear on the BBC that you got this message, we listen in to the 21.15 (German time) broadcast. (Signed) LUTECE 5. (TNA WO 208/3556)

    Translated/decoded messages were transcribed copied and sent to one or more of the Army, Navy, Air Force, SIS, SOEs's Country Sections, the Political Warfare Executive and the BBC. Some were sent to Churchill, de Gaulle, President Benes and Queen Wilhelmina.
    Bletchly Park and the Pigeon spies will hopefully be published in 2018. Bernard O'Connor (fquirk202@aol.com)
  9. PRcrab

    PRcrab Member

    Regarding interception of pigeon messages, Guy Liddell's (MI5 counter-espionage) diaries for 28 April 1942 said that the Director-General had agreed to sending expert falconers to the Scilly Isles to
    intercept pigeons en route from Eire to France.

Share This Page